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Common snowberry, Milkberry
Chiococca alba

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

General Landscape Uses: Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also good for buffer plantings.

Ecological Restoration Notes: A common element in forest edges and gaps. Can become aggressive and should be used with caution. May attract bird dispersers, which may have a positive benefit.

Availability: Native plant nurseries. Available in Boynton Beach at Sustainscape (561-245-5305).

Description: Large clambering vinelike shrub with 4-angled branches forming a large mound or climbing high into other vegetation. Bark yellowish-gray, marked by deposits of cork. Leaves bright green, thin, 1-3 inches long.

Dimensions: Typically 6-10 feet or more in height. Usually as broad as tall or broader.

Growth Rate: Moderate to fast.

Range: Monroe County Keys north mostly along the coasts to Duval and Dixie counties; Bermuda, West Indies, Texas, Mexico, Central America and South America.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes from South Florida north to southern Brevard, Osceola, Polk, and Pasco counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Hammocks and thickets.

Soils: Moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, with humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: High; can tolerate moderate amounts of salt wind without significant injury.

Drought Tolerance: Moderate; generally requires moist soils, but tolerant of short periods of drought once established.

Light Requirements: Light shade.

Flower Color: Generally yellow, sometimes white or peach.

Flower Characteristics: Semi-showy bell-shaped flowers in two-ranked rows. Fragrant.

Flowering Season: All year; peak spring-summer.

Fruit: Clusters of attractive white, drupelike berries.

Wildlife and Ecology: Provides significant food and cover for wildlife. Nectar plant for julia (Dryas iulia) and other butterflies.

Horticultural Notes: Grown from seed. Remove pulp from seeds and place in pot with 2" or more of soil. Barely cover seeds with soil. Place in light shade and keep moist.

References: Hammer 2004, Schaefer & Tanner 1997

Comments: Although somewhat unorthodox in form, common snowberrry can be very beautiful in bloom and even more so in fruit. However, it can be aggressive and some caution is in order. Taxonomy: some authors place C. parvifolia here, but we treat them as separate species. See also the Florida Wildflower Foundation's Flower Friday page.

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: Kristen Finch
In Habitat, Juno Dunes Natural Area, FL, 2013

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: Kristen Finch
In Habitat, Juno Dunes Natural Area, FL, 2013

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Other data on Chiococca alba available from:

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